Dealing With Desire

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:28 pm

MalaBeads wrote:
Malcolm wrote:why is this so hard to understand?

M


Because understanding is not the whole of practice, Malcolm. Because we have body, speech and mind. Because if the three are not integrated, then there is no realization of what is being taught.



You are totally missing the point. We are discussing why Mahāyāna is a path of renunciation. We are not discussing integration in terms of how that is presented in Dzogchen teachings, not at all. Mahāyāna conduct is completely based on abandoning sense objects, as we can see from many citations. It is critical to understand this point.

When we say that Mahāyāna is a path of renunciation, we are saying we are abandoning the five desire objects, because that is how we are going to abandon attachment to them. The Vajrayāna path of transformation exists for people who are too weak to abandon the five desire objects because their craving is so strong.

It is really simple: the links of dependent origination in this life function in this way --> contact [sparśa] --> sensation [vedana] -- craving [tṛṣṇā] --> addiction [upādāna] -->

The easiest way stop craving is to sever contact with a given sense object, for example, an alcoholic and alcohol.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:31 pm

Astus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:When the householder bodhisattva possesses three Dharmas, having stayed at home, until perfect unsurpassed awakening, he never enjoys the five desire objects, and in that way develops the root of virtue.

Trisambaranirdeśaparivarta-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

Because of this sūtra in the past, having abandoned the five desire objects, I will always take the [Mahāyāna] vows [samvara] at the six times.

Ārya-prabhāsādhana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra


Not enjoying a sunset is not the same as not seeing a sunset. So, what is abandoned is attachment and desire, not the sense data. Even when contemplating the foulness of the body the point is not to see no bodies at all but not to see it as desirable.



The point of taking a vow of celibacy is not to allow contact of your penis with a vagina., etc.

Anyway, I could spend my time and find many citations that prove that in terms of Mahāyāna view and conduct, the five desire objects themselves are something to be abandoned for many reasons, some having to do with becoming free from attachment, others having to do with the developing samadhi, etc. But I am going to stop here because I have clearly made my point about why Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna differ on the point of eliminating contact with desire objects themselves.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:Honestly, why is this so hard to understand?
I do believe that what you have come against at this point is a disparity between theory and practice.

You see people may belong to the Mahayana tradition and yet their application (based on aspects of the Mahayana teachings) is Vajrayana.

Others may belong to the Theravada tradition and yet have a well developed sense of bodhicitta (which is also supported in parts of their Canon)

Others may belong to the Vajrayana, yet place an emphasis on ethical conduct (again, not the key element of their tradition, but there nonetheless).

Others may belong to any of these traditions and yet not act like Buddhists at all.

And, finally, others may not belong to any tradition at all ,yet act in a manner which is completely in line with any one of the three yana.

I doubt you always play it by the book so I cannot see why you would expect others to do so? I mean, when it comes down to it, [insert term]yana is just a label/descriptor and like any label/descriptor it is bound to fail to convey the full sense of the practical aspect of the theory.

What do you expect? Perfection? Purity? We are all mongrels here in samsara.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:18 pm

Malcolm wrote:
When we say that Mahāyāna is a path of renunciation, we are saying we are abandoning the five desire objects...



The desire objects are to be minimalized because they still eat, drink, and sleep. Basic necessities are still utilized.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:28 pm

Well said, Greg.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Will » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:29 pm

Mind grasps or does not grasp the sensory fields. Putting a bag over one's head to 'renounce' the sensory object of a curvaceous lassie will not work. Nor will going to a cave that is free of such lovelies. Only a mental non-attachment based on some of the many traditional practices like often recalling the stinking skin bag & oozing orifices of the woman will (eventually) work.

When we were much younger we were wild about our toys, now we can look upon them with a cooler mind. There is no need now to lock our toys out of sight; for they are already out of mind.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:53 pm

Will wrote:Putting a bag over one's head to 'renounce' the sensory object of a curvaceous lassie will not work. Nor will going to a cave that is free of such lovelies.
Right, because the problem is that clinging arises from the mind, not from objects. If renouncing sensory objects resulted in enlightenment, then the formless gods are enlightened.

“objects are not inherently fetters; perverse thoughts based on them act as fetters.”
-Sonam Tsemo, General Presentation of the Tantra Sets, 14a.4-14b.3


Edit for clarification

Of course the above quote is from the Vajrayana but I believe it expresses a Mahayana belief. Objects are not the problem, the problem exists in the mind. Renouncing objects helps to reduce gross clinging in the mind, but it not the whole of the path. Then Vajrayana took that argument one step further and said 'if objects are not the problem, then they don't have to be given up'. But that's for another thread.
Last edited by Konchog1 on Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
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Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:53 pm

Will wrote:Mind grasps or does not grasp the sensory fields. Putting a bag over one's head to 'renounce' the sensory object of a curvaceous lassie will not work. Nor will going to a cave that is free of such lovelies. Only a mental non-attachment based on some of the many traditional practices like often recalling the stinking skin bag & oozing orifices of the woman will (eventually) work.

When we were much younger we were wild about our toys, now we can look upon them with a cooler mind. There is no need now to lock our toys out of sight; for they are already out of mind.


Not a great analogy. The point of what has been said is that conventional Mahayana does not make use of the sense objects as Vajrayana does. It rejects them as unsatisfactory, relies upon antidotes, etc. such as the charming image you paint of women. The way to cultivate non-attachment in conventional Mahayana is by avoiding the objects. Of course, the goal is to develop mental non-attachment but the way to do it is to avoid the object and use thought constructs to condition oneself. That's all that has been said. It's really not a controversial opinion.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Will » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:59 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
Will wrote:Mind grasps or does not grasp the sensory fields. Putting a bag over one's head to 'renounce' the sensory object of a curvaceous lassie will not work. Nor will going to a cave that is free of such lovelies. Only a mental non-attachment based on some of the many traditional practices like often recalling the stinking skin bag & oozing orifices of the woman will (eventually) work.

When we were much younger we were wild about our toys, now we can look upon them with a cooler mind. There is no need now to lock our toys out of sight; for they are already out of mind.


Not a great analogy. The point of what has been said is that conventional Mahayana does not make use of the sense objects as Vajrayana does. It rejects them as unsatisfactory, relies upon antidotes, etc. such as the charming image you paint of women. The way to cultivate non-attachment in conventional Mahayana is by avoiding the objects. Of course, the goal is to develop mental non-attachment but the way to do it is to avoid the object and use thought constructs to condition oneself. That's all that has been said. It's really not a controversial opinion.


I admit not reading the entire thread, just the OP and a few others. But since 'dealing with desire' is the topic, not the making use of sense objects or not, this prosaic, yet effective way of dealing with one kind of desire is worth considering.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Jikan » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:18 pm

thread closed momentarily for cleanup.

EDIT: I've cut some ad hominems from a few posts. Please continue discussing this topic without falling back into ad hom. Thanks.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:01 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Will wrote:Putting a bag over one's head to 'renounce' the sensory object of a curvaceous lassie will not work. Nor will going to a cave that is free of such lovelies.
Right, because the problem is that clinging arises from the mind, not from objects. If renouncing sensory objects resulted in enlightenment, then the formless gods are enlightened.

“objects are not inherently fetters; perverse thoughts based on them act as fetters.”
-Sonam Tsemo, General Presentation of the Tantra Sets, 14a.4-14b.3


Edit for clarification

Of course the above quote is from the Vajrayana but I believe it expresses a Mahayana belief.


You are not correctly presenting Loppon Rinpoche's thought:

    "The second general topic is the Pāramitāyāna practitioner making that basis into a path by giving it up."
-- The General Presentation of the Divisions of Tantra folio 12/a.

Clearly in this treatise he is claiming two things there is a basis to be given up, and he defines that basis as the five desire objects:

    "If it is asked what that cause is, it becomes many things when analyzed extensively — aggregates [skandha], elements [dhātu], gateways [āyatana], etc. In brief it is the five kinds of desire objects. If is wondered how is it summarized into five; the creator of samsara and nirvana is the mind. Its objects are six or twelve, but all are just the five [desire objects] themselves and what follows those, apart from which there isn’t anything else. Therefore, these five are the basis."
-- folio 11/a

He later states:

    "... as such, if is wondered whether the basis of samsara and nirvana is shared or separate, it is shared.
    Now, if one thinks “Doesn’t the one who wishes nirvana give up the basis? If that is so, [the basis] cannot be shared.”
    Indeed, it is true [the basis, i.e. the five desire objects] is given up. Since it is necessary to make [the basis which is] given up itself into an object, since that is so, [the basis] is also proven to be the basis of nirvana."


Thus, your citation (which comes in the section where secret mantra is defined through the fact that is does not give up the basis [the five desire objects]) cannot be understood in the manner in which you are citing it because it directly contradicts the intention of the author, irrespective of what you personally believe to be the intention of Mahāyāna.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:21 pm

When Sonam Tsemo says "The second general topic is the Pāramitāyāna practitioner making that basis into a path by giving it up", I understand him to be saying 'the Paramitayana practitioner does not cling to the five kinds of desire objects by avoiding them'.

Which is in agreement with what I said before.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:30 pm

Konchog1 wrote:When Sonam Tsemo says "The second general topic is the Pāramitāyāna practitioner making that basis into a path by giving it up", I understand him to be saying 'the Paramitayana practitioner does not cling to the five kinds of desire objects by avoiding them'.

Which is in agreement with what I said before.


Yes, correct. Pāramitāyāna practitioners avoid in the five desire objects in order to eliminate clinging to them.
Of course, generally we can say all Secret Mantra is a "Mahāyāna" belief.

However, you are muddying the issue: the path of general Secret Mantra is based upon "not giving up the basis" which is clearly defined as the five desire objects. Sonam Tsemo is stating that the path of mainstream Mahāyāna is "giving up the basis".

M
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Astus » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:44 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:The point of what has been said is that conventional Mahayana does not make use of the sense objects as Vajrayana does. It rejects them as unsatisfactory, relies upon antidotes, etc. such as the charming image you paint of women. The way to cultivate non-attachment in conventional Mahayana is by avoiding the objects. Of course, the goal is to develop mental non-attachment but the way to do it is to avoid the object and use thought constructs to condition oneself. That's all that has been said. It's really not a controversial opinion.


My point is that there is more than one method in Mahayana, not just avoiding objects. Sure, there are restrictive precepts, they are applied by every Buddhist who has took vows from 5 to 250. Even Vajrayana samayas tell you things one shouldn't do. My argument is against the idea that outside of Tantra all there is is renunciation as the only way to deal with desire.

It is understood very well that desire doesn't lie in the object:

"The passion for his resolves is a man's sensuality, not the beautiful sensual pleasures found in the world. The passion for his resolves is a man's sensuality. The beauties remain as they are in the world, while the wise, in this regard, subdue their desire." (AN 6.63)

And there several methods known to handle passion (e.g. Thag 21). It is also not true that in Vajrayana you don't aspire to become free from desire, since it also uses several techniques to manage them. Saying that changing an impure vision into a pure vision constitutes a whole different system, while methods like switching an unwholesome mind to wholesome and such are just renunciation is overlooking how both are nothing but changing one's attitude.

The path of renunciation in a Dzogchen book is defined this way:

"In general, the Sutra teachings are known as the path of renunciation because an individual following this method may be obliged to give up a whole variety of things, such as sex and alcohol, and to avoid performing negative deeds. ... The idea is that by avoiding or eliminating the factors in our lives which inflame our feelings or fuel our emotions, we don't experience the same kind of problems. It is as simple as that!" (Lawless & Allan: Beyond Words, p. 17)

That is, this statement is based only on the Vinaya, as if that were the essence of Hinayana and Mahayana. First of all, just by avoiding sex doesn't make one free from desire, so it'd be a very weak solution. Second, there are also lay practitioners who don't live a celibate life.

"People who see that their mind is the Buddha don’t need to shave their head. Laymen are Buddhas too."
(The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, p. 39)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

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True Buddha can’t be found.
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Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:When Sonam Tsemo says "The second general topic is the Pāramitāyāna practitioner making that basis into a path by giving it up", I understand him to be saying 'the Paramitayana practitioner does not cling to the five kinds of desire objects by avoiding them'.

Which is in agreement with what I said before.


Yes, correct. Pāramitāyāna practitioners avoid in the five desire objects in order to eliminate clinging to them.
Of course, generally we can say all Secret Mantra is a "Mahāyāna" belief.

However, you are muddying the issue: the path of general Secret Mantra is based upon "not giving up the basis" which is clearly defined as the five desire objects. Sonam Tsemo is stating that the path of mainstream Mahāyāna is "giving up the basis".

M
I'm sorry, I'm completely lost. I agree with you. Why are we debating?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:06 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:When Sonam Tsemo says "The second general topic is the Pāramitāyāna practitioner making that basis into a path by giving it up", I understand him to be saying 'the Paramitayana practitioner does not cling to the five kinds of desire objects by avoiding them'.

Which is in agreement with what I said before.


Yes, correct. Pāramitāyāna practitioners avoid in the five desire objects in order to eliminate clinging to them.
Of course, generally we can say all Secret Mantra is a "Mahāyāna" belief.

However, you are muddying the issue: the path of general Secret Mantra is based upon "not giving up the basis" which is clearly defined as the five desire objects. Sonam Tsemo is stating that the path of mainstream Mahāyāna is "giving up the basis".

M
I'm sorry, I'm completely lost. I agree with you. Why are we debating?



Its more fun than agreeing :guns:

Seriously though, since you cited the Vajrayāna section of Sonam Tsemo's text, I thought you were making an opposing argument.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Will » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:51 pm

Clarence wrote:I was wondering about the best way to deal with desire. I put this in the Mahayana forum because I do not want to hear exclusively about Vajrayana ways to deal with desire (though they are most welcome) but also how the venerable sees the monks would be best taught to deal with their desires. Also, even though this is located in the Mahayana subforum, a Theravada approach is also appreciated.


Perhaps this Theravada approach has been cited already - if not...

[A deva:]
With what is the world tied down?
With the subduing of what is it freed?
With the abandoning of what are all bonds cut through?

[The Buddha:]
With desire the world is tied down.
With the subduing of desire it's freed.
With the abandoning of desire all bonds are cut through.

Iccha Sutta
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:18 am

Malcolm wrote:It is really simple: the links of dependent origination in this life function in this way --> contact [sparśa] --> sensation [vedana] -- craving [tṛṣṇā] --> addiction [upādāna] -->
This may be the way that the links of dependent origination work, but I am not aware of any Buddhist tradition that attempts to PERMANENTLY break the cycle at any point other than ignorance. I know of no Budhist tradition that considers liberation as freedom from contact. So I really don't understand exactly what you are trying to say here.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby muni » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:17 am

Clarence wrote:Based on another thread, in which ven. Indrajala says:
"You'd think, but I've met former monks who lamented how they were never really taught how to deal with desire. It contributed to them leaving." I was wondering about the best way to deal with desire. I put this in the Mahayana forum because I do not want to hear exclusively about Vajrayana ways to deal with desire (though they are most welcome) but also how the venerable sees the monks would be best taught to deal with their desires. Also, even though this is located in the Mahayana subforum, a Theravada approach is also appreciated.


In one way, it should be recommended to recognize where is the mistaken root. :meditate:

Just a thought.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby muni » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:19 pm

“You can eliminate the harmful effects by cutting off the specific branches or leaves, or you can eliminate the entire plant by uprooting it”

Dalai Lama in The Art of Happiness. :smile:
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